My lips are always running dry

Dear doctor; My lips are always running dry despite drinking a lot of water. I take up to four glasses of water daily but still the lips keep pealing off. Could there be an underlying problem?

Dear doctor;

My lips are always running dry despite drinking a lot of water. I take up to four glasses of water daily but still the lips keep pealing off. Could there be an underlying problem?

Damian, 24, Remera.

Dear Damian,

The most common cause for dryness of lips is constant exposure to dust and sun, much breeze  or cold weather. This happens because there are no glands to lubricate the lips and the skin cover over it is very thin, thus prone to easy drying and  peeling. Smoking, chewing excess of chewing gum can cause dry lips. Dehydration due to drinking less water is also one of the conditions due to which one can have this problem. It can be due to viral  infections like  herpes simplex, Epstein barr virus, among others. In this case, along with dryness and peeling, there may be painful eruptions or cracking over or adjacent to lips. Allergy to some cosmetic products used or food substances consumed can also manifest in this way.

Some medicines used to treat hypertension, anxiety or depression cause dryness of mouth and lips as adverse effect.

It may be part of generalized dryness of the skin which may be due to multiple reasons. Hypothyrodism (impaired functioning of thyroid gland), diabetes,  scleroderma, deficiency of vitamin C and B.complex. Apart from all these conditions, there is a genetic predisposition also to have a dry skin and lips as well.

Maintain the habit of drinking water in adequate quantity. Protection from the sun by using caps, sunglasses and sun protecting creams is useful. Keeping the lips moist by use of lip balm helps prevent dryness. Including fresh vegetables, citrus fruits, whole grains and nuts in the diet helps to provide necessary vitamins and nutrients to prevent dryness and peeling.

If dryness persists in spite of this it is advisable to undergo investigations to find a treatable medical cause.

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